Biz Buzz, Oct. 28, 2012

Right about the time Robert Fishman opened the first Chomp’s Delicatessen in Glenwood Springs, he was thinking about creating a second location.

The growing Grand Valley population — and the possibility of drawing a large base of customers across the street from Colorado Mesa University — lured him west on Interstate 70.

A second Chomp’s will open “fairly soon” at 1122 N. 12th St., according to Fishman, noting he isn’t able to identify a more specific date yet because he’s waiting for the delivery of a refrigerator and freezer.

The deli will open in the former location of Taco John’s, which closed last November after the state of Colorado seized the Mexican fast-food restaurant for failing to pay more than $20,000 in sales tax.

In the meantime, Fishman and the deli’s general manager, Carolyn Loren, have been busy conducting interviews with potential employees and finishing remodeling the interior of the building.

Both come from food-service backgrounds: Loren in fine dining and cafes in California and Fishman in sandwich shops in Boulder in order to put himself through school at the University of Colorado. Fishman obtained a teacher’s license and a master’s degree in education and taught for five years at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale. But he couldn’t afford the high cost of living on a teacher’s salary. So he opened a deli.

Fishman said Chomp’s features sandwiches with high-quality deli meats, a variety of salads and soups made from scratch using his own recipes, as well as a breakfast menu. Prices range from about $4 to $9.

The deli also will offer delivery within Grand Junction city limits and full-service catering.

“We really believe in quantity and quality of food and giving people the best of the best,” Loren said.

Fishman said he’s not concerned about expanding at a time when the economy struggles to improve.

“If you have a superior product, people will come,” he said. “I’ve got the product, she’s (Loren) got the service.”

Hours haven’t officially been established, but Fishman said the deli will be open seven days a week from roughly 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sharon Bradshaw-Bishard said she has watched friends mortgage their homes to keep their businesses alive. She, however, isn’t willing to jeopardize her personal assets to prop up her business because, as she put it, “I’m almost 63 and I don’t have time to recover from something like that if it turns into a disaster.”

So she and her husband, Glen Bishard, will close their bulk seed company, Green Fields Seed & Feed, 520 S. Ninth St., on Friday after 16 years of selling vegetable, grass, bird and other varieties of seed.

Bradshaw-Bishard blamed the rough economy and the domino effect it’s created for their decision.

“We’ve had a lot of our major accounts close their doors and we’re seeing suppliers close their doors,” she said.

She said the price of millet — a primary ingredient in the wild bird seed Green Fields sells — has surged from $10 for 100 pounds to $22.50 for 50 pounds. With the amount of new housing construction remaining far below where it was five or six years ago, landscapers aren’t buying seed for turf grass. And Bradshaw-Bishard said she doesn’t see things turning around quickly, regardless of whom voters elect next month.

“It’s hard to close your doors because we’ve had customers for 16 years and a lot of them are like family and friends,” she said. “Our first customer who walked in (Friday) morning was in tears” after learning about the business’ closure.

The shuttering of Green Fields means four full-time employees and two part-timers will be looking for work. They won’t be alone — Bradshaw-Bishard said either she or her husband need to find another job.

“My biggest concern is paying for health insurance,” she said.

Your Sign Company’s name would seem to suggest everything you need to know about the business’ business.

The fact that it doesn’t, though, is a big reason why the manufacturer is setting up a satellite office at Mesa Mall for the holidays.

The company that makes everything from murals, banners and wallpaper to floor and wall graphics and vehicle wraps will set up shop next to Cabela’s for all of November and December to showcase its products, pitch services to shoppers looking for holiday gift ideas and let the public know it can put almost anything on almost anything.

“There’s a lot of things we do that people don’t know about,” said Mike Kelly, who, along with his wife, Michell, have owned the business at 2478 Industrial Blvd. for 21 years.

During its temporary stay in the mall, Your Sign Company will give away two battery-operated children’s cars.

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